Friday, March 03, 2006

Lenten Suggestions For Families


Children can also participate in Lent by doing Roman Catholic activities. Jesus Christ exists for all of us even children.

1. Good deeds - Have children participate in some kind of good deed during Lent.

2. Make Crosses - Using construction paper or cardstock, children can create their own crosses.

3. Plant bulbs - Plant bulbs and watch them grow. Teach the children that like how a bulb grows, our faith in Jesus grows.

4. Stations of the Cross - Teach children about the Stations of the Cross and take them to meditate on them.

5. Donations - Teach them how to donate money and items to be nice to others who are in need.

6. Candy - Make candy crosses and lambs by using candy molds and melted chocolate.

7. Pray daily - Pray with your children daily especially the Rosary.

(About Catholic)

Suggestions for Families

Lent is a time for each of us to increase our knowledge of the "faith that is in us" in order that we can fulfill our vocation as Christians to extend this rich blessing of faith to others. We accomplish personal renewal and revitalization of our faith through penance, prayer and instruction.


The value of self-denial must be learned early in a person's life. Lent provides an excellent opportunity to teach our children the necessity of self-denial in our permissive society. The whole family will observe the Lenten fast according to the Church. Fasting means restricting the food we eat, and also the size and number of meals. Abstinence means abstaining from eating meat.

Catholics abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday as well as on all Fridays during Lent. The strict fast for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday means that we will
eat only one main meal on that day, with the other two being very light (and no snacking).

A spirit of fasting can include restriction of luxuries such as television watching, shopping and going out with friends. The entire family could choose main "give-ups" that all will observe (for example, desserts, television, or a favorite show). Each child can select additional things to "fast" from during Lent ­ maybe a video, or candy. (No fair giving up homework or not hitting your sister!)

We can give away clothing or possessions to those in need or we can give time to the Lord by volunteering our services. It would be good to involve children in this special kind of giving.

There are special foods for Lent. Hot cross buns are traditinally eaten on Good Friday, for example. (An interesting recipe book is A Continual Feast, by Evelyn Birge Vitz, published by Ignatius Press.)

A food that symbolizes prayer and fasting is the pretzel (from the Latin word, bracellæ, "arms".) It is a traditional Lenten bread of very ancient origin. Early Christians made the bread from flour, salt and water only, shaping it to represent the folded arms in prayer, just as they are made to this day. The German tribes who invaded Rome called the bracellæ "brezel'" or "prezel". Pretzels are traditionally eaten throughout Lent, and in some places are especially associated with
Saint Joseph's Day [March 19] which usually falls within Lent. A recipe for soft pretzels follows:


The pretzel represents the shape of the penitent's crossed arms, and was a traditional Lenten food in central European towns. This recipe is for a chewy soft pretzel, like those hot pretzel vendors sell.

Combine in a mixing bowl:1 cup warm water1 package (1 1/2 T) active dry yeast1 tsp sugar

Add and beat at least 3 minutes:1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour2 Tbsp soft butter1/2 tsp salt1 Tbsp sugar

Stir in 1 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour and knead until the dough loses its stickiness.

Let the dough rise in a covered greased bowl until it is doubled in bulk (this is called "proofing" the dough).

Punch down and divide it into 12 pieces.

Roll each piece into a long rope and form it into a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on a greased baking sheet and let them rise until almost doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 475°F.

In a large non aluminum kettle, prepare a boiling solution of4 cups water5 tsp baking soda

With a slotted spoon, carefully lower the pretzels into the water and boil about 1 minute or until they float to the top.

Return them to the greased sheet. Sprinkle them with coarse salt. (Sea salt or Kosher salt.)

Bake the pretzels until they are nicely browned, about 10-12 minutes. Pretzels are best when eaten while still warm, but they may be stored in an air tight container for up to a week, or frozen. (Makes twelve 6-inch pretzels)

(Women for Faith and Family)


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